2019 Migration Review

Migration and Development: The Role for Development Aid

Robert E.B Lucas

The objectives of this research overview are twofold: To provide a succinct outline of what is and is not known about the links between migration and economic development in developing countries; and to inform aid agencies about the potential for Official Development Assistance (ODA) in enhancing these two-way links, in which development affects migration and migration impacts progress in developing countries.

This publication from The Migration Studies Delegation (Delmi) and The Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) synthesizes existing research on the links between migration and economic development. The research overview gives an overview of the magnitudes and drivers of migration, and the economic consequences of migration for developing countries.

The report was presented during the seminar Migration and development: The role for development aid.

The author discusses how the role of migration in development can be considered in the design of development assistance:

  • The evidence is mixed on whether development assistance increase growth, and on whether growth increase or decrease emigration pressures.
  • Both the composition of aid and characteristics of the recipient country influence the effects of development assistance on migration and economic development.
  • The effects of migration on poverty alleviation and growth depend on the setting; the skill-levels of migrants, investments in infrastructure and education in developing countries and impediments to rural-urban migration.

Professor E.B. Lucas, Boston University